Part B engages students in synthesizing and analyzing their observations and work
samples as they relate to Part A; students interpret the data from their
observations and work samples in relation to their development as readers,
writers, thinkers, and learners and as they relate to the five
dimensions of learning; they must relate these dimensions to their overall
learning, while practicing concise interpretation and summation. In
addition, students must select
appropriate evidence that demonstrates their processes and development; by doing
so, students participate in the rhetorical processes of arguing, interpreting,
Below is a student example from my Summer, 2002 freshmen rhetoric course.
So far, this rhetoric class has incorporated all of the four major strands
of work and the five dimensions of learning. The major strands of work
includes: rhetoric, research, technology, and collaboration. The big argumentative
paper that the class is working on exemplify rhetorical skills. One has
to argue that a certain image that he/she picked represents a defining
moment of his/her generation. This big paper and the two moo group projects
over rhetorical terms and technological terms improve the students' skills
of research. The big paper requires deep research into the writer's topic.
Students have to do research on the rhetorical or technological terms
assigned. This class also improves the students' skills with using technology,
especially the computer, to do research and work on the Moo and LRO. Collaboration
skills are necessary to perform well in the two group projects over rhetorical
and technological terms.
The five dimensions of learning include: confidence and independence,
knowledge and understanding, skills and strategies, use of prior and emerging
knowledge, and reflectiveness. The two group projects over rhetorical
and technological terms greatly boosted my confidence in working with
the computer. I quickly familiarized myself with the MOO when posting
my group work on the MOO. I also learned that the MOO can record discussions
within a room when I discussed with several other classmates over Dr.
Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Letter in Birmingham Jail. I also gained my
confidence, ironically, while working on the group projects. I am typically
a timid person, but the group projects transformed me into a leader, a
new terrain I never explored before. I had to stand out and divide the
responsibilities within the group.
The big paper project, response papers, and group project presentations
increased my knowledge and understanding of the rhetorical process. The
big paper requires writing three drafts and organizing the outline of
the paper. Peer editing is also a part of the process. The response paper
over the invention that changed my writing and writing process requires
deep analysis of the thinking process. The group projects required the
group members to present their writing to the class in summary.
This rhetoric class pertains to the real world in that I am able to bring
prior and emerging knowledge as well as using the skills and strategies
from the class for outside work. For example, my knowledge of the prevalence
of school shootings helped me to pick it as the topic for my big paper.
My prior knowledge of the computer, especially the Internet, also helped
to quicken my pace when researching for the group projects. Likewise,
I learned from this class that Google is a great searching engine. I used
it mostly to search the history of rhetoric and the computer medium.
The most important skill I gained from this class is reflectiveness. For
example, I had to critically read and evaluate Dr. King's essay. The class
also critically analyzed several advertisements for their aim, audience,
and effectiveness. The big paper specifically aims to improve one's critical
writing skills. One has to argue and persuade his/her audience that the
image he/she chose represents a defining moment of his/her generation.
This rhetoric class incorporated all the five dimensions of learning and
the four strands of work. For example, one gains confidence and independence
with technology when working on the group web project or the Moo Log Synthesis.
The group web project requires the knowledge of how to make a web page.
While working on the Moo Log Synthesis, one gains experience with the
new Lingual Moo Program created by the UTD Rhetoric Department.
The big essay one has to write for this class improves one’s knowledge
and understanding of the writing processes. First of all, one has to organize
one’s paper when composing the prospectus and the outline for the paper.
Then, one has to revise and edit the paper to have three different drafts
and one final paper. Throughout this process, one has to have two peer
editings and one editing by the school’s Writing Lab.
The essay and other assignments also enabled one to employ prior and emerging
knowledge toward the class and vice versa, to use the skills and strategies
acquired from this class to the outside world. For example, after writing
my essay over the negative, violent effects of television, I am more careful
about what I see on television and know to use my own judgment. On the
other hand, I have to bring my prior knowledge to the class during the
Moo discussions. For most of the Moo discussions, the class was divided
into three or four groups. Generally, we are supposed to discuss about
the articles or essays that we read from the Aims for Argument book. However,
the group often divert from the topic to discuss related issues and events
that interested us more.
Lastly, one’s reflectiveness increases through the course while completing
the given assignments. To prepare for the Moo discussions, one has to
critically analyze the essays assigned from the Aims book. While editing
a peer’s essay, one also has to think critically about the subject and
language of the paper.
Not only does one improve on the five dimensions of learning throughout
this course, one also develops on the four strands of work. For example,
to argue successfully that a certain image represents one’s generation,
one has to use rhetoric techniques. One has to learn how to argue through
the styles of writing. This big paper and the group web project refresh
one’s research skills. To learn about the subject for the assignment,
one has to search for books at the library or articles on the World Wide
Web. While researching, one gains general knowledge about technology,
especially the computer. The Internet is one component of the computer
that one has to utilize to research and to send e-mails between group
members. Typing response papers using Microsoft Word is another use of
the Internet. The computer not only is a great search engine, it also
is another alternative for communication between group members, such as
having discussions in the Moo or sending e-mails. In overall, the group
web project exemplifies all these aspects of collaboration.
student takes a very formal approach in analyzing her learning; in each paragraph,
she sums up the activities and course objectives then provides specific examples
of her learning and growth. For example, she discusses how the argumentative
paper exemplifies rhetorical skills, how the two group projects "boosted
[her] confidence," and how the group projects also "transformed
[her] into a leader." This section of the LRO is quite different
from other portfolios; instead of providing a rationale for the inclusion of
individual assignments, or an explanation of knowledge gained from individual
assignments, or a paragraph or two about the general changes in the student's
work, the LRO requires that students look at the overall process of their learning
and specifically relate this learning to their course objectives
and observations. The philosophy of this section is very different for it
asks students to be philosophical about themselves and their learning (as exemplified
by the focus on emerging and prior knowledge, see the first paragraph Part B1)
and not just about their papers and individual skills, as many portfolio models
encourage (see the Analysis of Skills and Processes section from the
"Issues" section of this project).
Below is another student's work from my Spring, 2002 freshmen rhetoric course.
Alright I just have to add a little header before I begin. I hate this
computer right now because I wrote this long analysis of my work and when
I went to save on the LRO my computer had disconnected causing me to lose
all my work!!! Alright I am done ranting:(
From the beginning of the semester until now I can honestly say my work
and understanding of rhetorical matters has greatly improved, but this
does not mean that their is not a lot of room for growth in my work.
When I review my previous work I noticed that I skirted around issues
because I was afraid to offend. I was also afraid that my opinions were
inconclusive and therefore it could not support my views. My later works
show direct, to the point opinions proving my confidence in my writing.
Not only was I just reading essays, but I was also gaining knowledge
from the authors. As I learned to dissect other writers' works it helped
me to develop an understanding of what makes a better writer. Reading
argumentative essays will later help in the development of my research.
I look at the writing and I can see what makes for a persuasive essay
and I can use this knowledge to persuade my readers.
I am ashamed to admit that as I become a stronger writer I look at my
old techniques and wonder how my writing could be so bad? It is only until
now that I understand the foundation of my writing is not as concrete
as I would like it. Taking the grammar quizzes and finding out I am horrible
at it is a hard thing for me to comprehend. In the past I always wrote
what sounded right instead of what is correct. In the future I am hoping
to build up my understanding of grammar so that what I have to say has
As I look at my observations I also notice that I started out as an unsure
student with a lot of questions about what the class wanted. Now my observations
show what I am gaining in the classroom. Hopefully as time passes I will
have a more in-depth look at what rhetoric really means.
Overall I felt an improvement through all five dimensions of learning.
I am more confident in my abilities to edit my own work. I do not feel
the need to have another person overlook my work all the time. I am finally
getting into the groove of writing and of course it is the end of the
semester. I also wanted to continue with my improvement and will hopefully
be able to enroll in a literature class next fall.
When it comes to my own skills and strategies I definitely see an improvement,
just not to the level I would like it to be. Spelling will always be a
problem for me because I rely on my computer's spell-check. Grammar has
also seen an improvement because I am actually learning what is right
and wrong instead of asking myself does this sentence sound right. Unfortunately
I still have a lot of work in that area still for me to catch up with
my fellow classmates.
Throughout the semester we have also been working on the major strands
of work, but I do not think it was until recently that I worked on collaboration.
The web projects assigned to the class forced me to work with my peers.
It was really hard for me because in my mind I saw how I wanted it to
look on the web and my partners ideas conflicted with that image. It got
to the point where I had to trust that my way was not the only way. For
me that was a constant struggle not to argue with my peers.
Although this student does not directly
focus on individual assignments, she does focus on the before-and-after aspects
of her learning. This student's work really exemplifies the recognition of the
complex dimensions of learning that the LRO fosters by requiring students to
look at their observations and individual perceptions and growth (concerning
This student recognizes that although
she has learned and improved much, that she still has much to work on. In fact,
in B2, she recognizes that when collaborating, and thus dealing with conflicting
positions and ideas, she must trust herself and exert her independence, but
at the same time recognize and (at times) validate others' positions. She recognizes
that in situations like this, and in general, learning and writing operate amongst
This student's work also exemplifies
the personal growth and understanding that the philosophy and methodology of
the LRO promote; this student is now aware of what "makes [her] a better writer" and how she has "become a stronger writer."
Although her work (here) does seem to be simplistic and similar to work from
other portfolio models (since she focuses on the before and after), she is able
to recognize the complexities of learning and writing by looking at a variety
of sources/evidence — observations, summary, interpretation.
Like Part A and the observations, Part B requires
students to reflect and connect their changes and development, once again stressing
the multi-dimensional and process-driven nature of learning and writing.